Trust Banks: Financial Winners

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The nation's largest trust banks were the winners among large-cap financial firms on Monday.

Shares of State Street of Boston ( STT) rose 3% to close at $45.93, while Bank of New York Mellon ( BK) was up over 2% to close at $25.11, and Northern Trust ( NTRS) of Chicago saw its shares rise nearly 2%, to close at $48.61.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 ( SPX.X) ended with slight gains and the NASDAQ Composite rose 1%, as investors looked ahead to Tuesday's elections. Deutsche Bank equity strategist David Bianco wrote that "the presidential race remains too close to call with stocks pricing an equal chance of either candidate winning. Our S&P year-end target of 1475 assigns an equal probability of 1450 if Obama wins or 1500 if Romney wins."

Bianco said that following the election, "investor focus will almost immediately turn to legislation to resolve the fiscal cliff and the balance between tax hikes and spending cuts," and predicted that "legislation during the Nov-Dec Congress session that mostly preserves existing tax rates could put the S&P over 1500."

The KBW Bank Index ( I:BKX) was down slightly to close at 49.95, with 14 of the 24 index components showing declines.

Jefferies analyst Ken Usdin stuck with his even tone for trust banks as a group on Monday, saying in a report that "one month into 4Q, proxies continue to suggest a mixed revenue picture, with positive equity revenue comparisons to prior periods providing tailwinds for core business lines, while other revenue streams struggle with low interest rates and further declines in volumes/volatility." The analyst added that "strong capital return, sizeable efficiency initiatives, and reasonable valuations are supportive of the group, but the lack of revenue catalysts keeps us neutral for now."

Usdin rates State Street a "Hold," with a $47 price target, estimating that the company's operating earnings for 2012 will total $4.10 a share, increasing to EPS of $4.44 in 2013 and $4.91 in 2014. State Street's shares have now returned 16% year-to-date, following an 11% decline during 2011. The shares trade for 1.8 times tangible book value, according to Thomson Reuters Bank Insight, and for 11 times the consensus 2013 EPS estimate of $4.32, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Based on a quarterly payout of 24 cents, State Street's shares have a dividend yield of 2.09%.

Interested in more on State Street? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

Jefferies rates Bank of New York Mellon a "Hold," with a $25 price target, with Usdin estimating the firm will earn $2.02 a share for all of 2012, followed by earnings of $2.35 a share in 2013 and EPS of $2.65 in 2014. BNY has now returned 29% year-to-date, following a 33% decline in 2011. The shares trade for 2.2 times tangible book value, and for 10.5 times the consensus 2013 EPS estimate of $2.39. Based on a quarterly payout of 13 cents, the shares have a dividend yield of 2.07%.

Interested in more on Bank of New York Mellon? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

Usdin also has a "Hold" rating on Northern Trust, with a $48 price target. The analyst estimates that the company's operating earnings for all of 2012 will total $2.92 a share, increasing to $3.40 in 2013 and $3.60 in 2014. Northern Trust's shares have now returned 25% year-to-date, following a 27% decline last year. The shares trade for 1.7 times tangible book value, and for 15 times the consensus 2013 EPS estimate of $3.34. Based on a quarterly payout of 30 cents, the shares have a dividend yield of 2.47%.

Interested in more on Northern Trust? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

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-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

>Contact by Email.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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